With the Sweet 16 upon us and the end of the NBA season rapidly approaching (didn’t it seem like this season last like a month?), this will be your (and NBA scouts for that matter) last few chances to see some of the top prospects play real competition. I have never been a “workout” guy. I go by what I see on the court.
With 16 teams left, I thought it would be a good time to take a look into who is left in terms of NBA prospects the Cavaliers could be interested in with four draft picks this June (two first rounders and two second rounders). If the season ended today, the Cavs would have the eighth worst record in the NBA. So unless they essentially end up losing out the rest of the way, they will be picking somewhere between sixth and ninth with their first selection.
This will be a series in parts. We will first look at the team most loaded with NBA prospects – The #1 Kentucky Wildcats.
Lets be honest. Barring a miracle, the Cavs are not going to win the lottery two years in a row. So the prize of all prizes, Center Anthony Davis (Draft Express #1 rated player) won’t be available to them. Davis is about as sure of a thing to be the #1 pick as it gets. He’s a still growing 6’11 athletic freak who will win National Freshman of the Year, National Defensive Player of the Year, and most likely National Player of the Year. He’s got the skills of a shooting guard, the athleticism of a three-man, and the shot-blocking abilities of a center.
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Draft Express #2), aka Scott’s man-crush, has said on more than one occasion in the last month that he “isn’t going anywhere.” But how can a guy who is viewed as the ultimate team player, with excellent defensive skills, A-rebounding level, and an offensive game that gets better and better, stay in school when he can be picked in the top three? If you know his story, you know he is a different kind of kid. Dare I say a special one. Maybe he does stick around for another year at UK. I just don’t see it happening. He won’t be around unless the Cavs get a top three pick, but man would I love to see him in this city.
The NBA enigma on this star studded group is SF Terrance Jones (Draft Express #11). There may be no player in the country as frustrating as the Sophomore lefty. He has a sweet left-handed stroke and the body to be a prototypical NBA three-man. While his skills are tantalizing, he is a known pouter who doesn’t like physical play. When he is on – like the first round against Western Kentucky when he scored 22 points – he looks like a top five talent and a Lamar Odom clone. But when he seems out of it mentally, you wouldn’t want him anywhere near the lottery. He will be there for the Cavs at eight, but would you want him in the mix as the third key piece with Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving? He doesn’t seem like a Byron Scott type of player.
With two second round picks and the lack of quality guards on the Cavs roster, UK has two players that the Wine and Gold could have their eyes on should they come out. I don’t believe either of them is ready, but you never know these days. Combo Guard Doron Lamb (Draft Express #38) and PG Marquis Teague (Draft Express # 41) can both play.
Lamb serves as UK’s deep shooter and backup point guard. He is really a true shooting guard in an NBA point man’s body. I can see him as an instant offense shooter off the bench, ala Dell Curry (yeah, that’s right, I said it. I’m 36) for many years. Maybe as a replacement for Boobie Gibson? Teague needs more work in college. He came in with a McDonald’s All-American pedigree but has been up and down most of the season. When he is at his best (24 pts, seven assists vs Iowa State last Saturday), he gives UK another dimension and makes them close to unbeatable. But he can be rattled and erratic with the ball at times. Staying in school and developing his point guard skills for at least another year in the John Calipari system could vault him into a lottery pick.
Up next, we will examine the North Carolina Tar Heels and their roster fill of NBA talent.